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Why Poetry Sucks...

 A strange post from a poet you might say. But suck it does and I’m going to tell you why.

  • There’s several reasons. The first being that the Poetry world is as conservative and insular as The Civil War Widow’s Quilt Creating Club (though they probably had many members). Too many have specific ideas about what Poetry should be, when it really can be anything it wants to be. The majority of publications, particularly the larger mainstream ones and the ones funded by Arts Grants, expect a certain type of hidden meaning, i.e. only the author can understand, or those with the exceptionally high intellect, or so they would have you believe.

  •      They also require a certain amount of words that no one will understand unless they look it up, while pretending they didn't find it in the thesaurus to begin with.  This is called intellectual snobbery. Words such as Tintinnabulation, usufruct, perspicacity, mondaine, gasconading and my favourite, sesquipedalian, which literally means a person who likes to use big words.

How can young people and new readers embrace poetry if they can’t relate to it? And no that does not mean making it angst ridden, slash your wrists style navel stabbing. Poetry needs to pull its collective head out of its ass.

  • Also the subject matter has to favour these well, subjects. You see, I could have looked up an alternate word there with heftier emphasis on my supposed intelligence, thus elevating this post and the entire website. But I won’t. Landscapes, birds, the politically oppressed, the sexually oppressed, i.e. feminism, any type of political correctness or where the poet takes the higher ground as after all, they are poets; love, especially the unrequited kind, but the most favoured are those whereupon no one really knows what the fuck you’re talking about but it’s got enough big words and sentence breaks to appear impressive. In other words, Poetry is restrictive.


  • The other main reason why Poetry sucks is that, well, no one reads it, only other Poets. Poetry is consumed by those wanting to write it or copy it or who do actually appreciate it, but those readers who are not poets themselves are rarer than an honest real estate agent. Go into any bookstore and ask for the poetry section. A lot of stores won’t have one, and if they do, it will be small. Being a poet sucks the most, as few publishers will even take on a Poet. They’re not publishing it because no one reads it, and if you do happen to find one, well, good luck, because what they’re looking for is… well, read the first section again.

                                  If you're famous, you're in! Even if it's shite.

This, my friends, is why Poetry sucks big fleecy dogs balls. There’s no variety, no spice and no one willing to take a risk to publish those writers who do try to do something different and more accessible, which may even, God forbid, spread the amount of people willing to read and purchase Poetry.

Yet it continues to remain as insular and dull as it has mostly been for hundreds of years, save a few who managed to leave an imprint, ironically, those who did something bold and managed to get it out there through a close contact (Sylvia Plath), luck and dogged determination (Charles Bukowski) or the fact that they were already dead (Emily Dickenson).

She must be good. She's dead.

Yep, it’s a frustrating shit fight if you’re a poet, but while the heart beats and bleeds, the words will keep a coming. Just don’t expect anyone to read it. Ah, it sucks alright…I know I excogitate, please excuse my concupiscent circumlocution. 

My theory on the Bullshit Fiction Writing Style of  Show vs Tell.

My Poetry Book, Caged Without Walls.

Some of my Poetry


  1. Well I like to write, whether one thinks of it as poetry or not, I don't really care. It's don't make it my business to worry about what other people think these days. All I know is that I like to write, it's my way of getting lost for just a little bit!

  2. Well that post sucked ;) Hey I have never written a poem in my life and I enjoy yours. I used to read the poems in the Age book section on the weekend but I didn't have a clue what they were on about most times. I think a poem only matters to someone who can identify with it's words. So it helps if they understand those words. There appear to be a lot of wankers in the poetry field though. A bit like that blind folded wine test given to wine critics I heard about years ago where the majority of them could not pick the so-called great wine. But then again, maybe the poetry editor at the Age actually likes big fluffy dog's balls.

  3. Thanks for your comments Katherine and Graham. Each to their own and their own meaning. I like that analogy Graham, and I think I remember something about that too. Says alot. All I'm saying is that there is room for more forms of poetry, especially here in Australia.

  4. Great post Anthony. I can talk about this subject for a long while. I won't though.
    Let me start out by saying I hate elitists. I hate them most in the areas of photography and poetry. ESPECIALLY if those elitists also happen to be teachers or professors.

    If somebody doesn't like something I've written because they don't feel anything or don't get it on any level, I'm fine with that. BUT, if somebody can't decide whether or not they like something I've written until after they examine it for form, or cadence, or metrics, then screw them!

  5. I forgot....
    My favorite poet/author is Richard Brautigan. I don't know if you are familiar with him. The most amazing thing about him is that one of his novels "Trout Fishing in America" sold over 4 million copies worldwide. That was only possible because it was released in 1967 and was perfect for the times. 4 million copies and he still blew his own brains out in 1984. The man was as crazy as the day is long, but I loved almost everything he wrote.

  6. I had heard of him but didnt really know anything about him, until now! So thanks for that, I'm going to track down his work. I can relate to him already, having read about his life. Cheers Pat.


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